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Stop Overthinking Your Emails!

Overthinking Your Emails and Email Templates?

Between prepping for 20-Group presentations to serving our regular clients, we mystery shop scores of dealers each month – reading their emails (mostly templates) and texts, and listening to their voicemails – and while we’ve seen definite overall improvement over the years, one aspect of the internet sales process that is beginning to creep in the wrong direction is the automated email response.

It’s become clear that someone on your team is overthinking this whole “email thing.”

The Auto-Response

When I mention “the automated email response” I’m referring to all process emails that your CRM sends automatically to a non-responsive prospect. The Auto-Response, while certainly an automated email response, is a bit different. Its primary purposes (to alert the prospect that your team is working on their “order” and to set expectations) contrast the goal of all other process emails (to drive a reconnection).

When properly-written, the Auto-Response is just like the Order Confirmation email: it’s a welcomed acknowledgement that their order was received. Additionally, it’s important to understand that the customer might not even know which dealerships received their “order.” If they submitted it from a third-party site, for example, they may have checked a few boxes next to some dealer names that they might not immediately be able to recall. Your properly-written Auto-Response tells them who you are and what to expect regarding next steps.

It’s an Email, Not a Novel

Now, regarding those automated process emails sent after the Auto-Response, your team likely needs to tone it down a bit; for example, let’s discuss length.

Possibly because you’ve been building your templates over many years adding new information as it becomes available, most dealerships are sending out copies of War and Peace instead of emails meant to drive a reconnection. The attention span of your prospect is miniscule and the vast majority of your emails that are opened are read on a mobile device. Long emails turn off your prospects and get you sent to their spam folders.

Get to the point, create some excitement and/or urgency, ask for a call back, and move on. No one cares how many years you won the President’s Award or that you’re the largest dealer in Scrimshaw County. If you feel you must vomit all of this relatively worthless information on the prospect (perhaps because your OEM demands it), then sprinkle one “cool” fact per email – don’t try to tell them everything great about you all at once. When you do that, you sound like an excited first grader discussing today’s show and tell.

Breathe as you create your templates; and remember the primary goal of your process emails: to compel the prospect to reconnect.

Speak Human

Today’s car buyers are looking for three things before they will buy. They want Value (is this vehicle a good value); they want Relevancy (does this vehicle meet my needs); and they want to buy from someone Authentic (is this dealership/salesperson someone I like and trust).

They found value and relevancy on their own – that’s why they submitted the lead in the first place – now they need authenticity. Speaking like a human is a major part of being authentic. Your email templates must dispense with the superfluous phrases and get to the point.

What do the emails sound like that you write to friends or coworkers? Do you speak about “scheduling an unparalleled visit to our state-of-the-art facility where you will enjoy a VIP experience like no other” or do you simply “schedule a test drive?”

Get to the point; be authentic; speak human. Your templated emails are supposed to read like you personally wrote them today; specifically for this prospect. Make sure they sound this way to the prospect.

A Picture Is Worth Zero Words

Ten years ago, we pushed to include a picture of the dealership in the header, multiple images of the vehicle, a recent photo of the internet salesperson in the signature line and the dealership’s logo below that in every email we sent.

Today, because of spam concerns and the fact that most everyone is reading your emails on their mobile devices, including images often results in either no experience or a bad experience for your prospect. When the images don’t render or are blocked (as most images from unknown senders are by default), your emails don’t always format like you want on the prospect’s device.

Realize that you can never go wrong with text emails – so long as you don’t try to include too much text – if your goal is to have your emails read on the other end.

No One Is Reading These Anyway

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment: no one is really reading that twelfth email in your process, are they? I mean, come on, you’ve already sent eleven emails over the first 45 days that you thought were compelling enough to drive a reconnection and… nothing. What in the world makes you think they’re reading that masterpiece you send on Day 55 or 71 or 90?

They’re not – at least not enough of them for you to overthink what you send – or for you to try to personalize something that will catch their eye. There is no ROI in crafting a personal email for those who don’t reconnect after the first few days. Write good templates. Put them in your CRM. Fire them in some order you think will work and move on.

Stop overthinking your emails: your time is much better spent on the phones.

Good selling!

Steve is the author of Assumptive Selling: The Complete Guide to Selling More Vehicles for More Money to Today’s Connected Customers;" as well ...